Friday, July 30, 2010

To be Fehr...

Much has been made over the years about how Eric Fehr was drafted ahead of Ryan Getzlaf in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and, yes, there is a large disparity in their career point production. But to call Eric Fehr a bust seems a little unfair. He's a 20 goal scorer, Calder Cup winner and solid contributor for what was the league's best offense last season. But for some reason, his ice time is held back while others see their time rise (we're looking at you Tomas). Is this disparity in ice time deserved? Let's look at the tape.

As with all our goal analyses, we'll group Eric's goals into a few categories. For the sake of camparison, we'll use the same scoring categories as Tomas Fleischmann:
  1. Skill goals created by offensive zone play/turn overs/face off wins
  2. Goals from offensive rushes/breakaways
  3. Crease work/tap-ins/rebounds/redirections
Based on Eric's goals, he seems to be equally adept at scoring skill goals, dirty goals, and hard working goals, with 8 goals coming from offensive zone work, 7 goals from offensive rushes and 6 more from in close to the goaltender. Oddly enough, when looking for another Cap whose goal scoring style resembles Fehr, my first (and only) thought was of Tomas Fleischmann. He has above average hands and a hard accurate shot and like Fleischmann, he manages to find open space for himself. Fehr isn't a board crasher, but he also isn't afraid to go into rough areas on the ice looking for a rebound.

I find it amazing that Eric had the lowest average ice time (12:08 per game) for any 20 goal scorer in the NHL last season, by 2:36 per game (a huge gap). In fact, you have to go all the way down to John Sim (13 goals in 11:39 in avg. ice time) to find a productive player with less ice time. The last time a 20 goal scorer played less than 13:00 per game was when Jeff Carter, Patrick Eaves and Chuck Kobasew did it in 2005-2006. So once again, the question needs to be asked: is there something about Eric Fehr's game that causes Coach Boudreau pause in calling his name?

We'll probably never know. What I do know is, based on Eric Fehr's game, I see nothing to indicate he's not a 25+ goal scorer in the NHL. With 4 more minutes per game, who knows what we could see.

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